Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Big Sea!!

Last Friday was the kick-off to a very hectic weekend, but what a wonderful way to start things! Great Big Sea came to Colorado Springs; they're here every 1-2 years, and I try to see them every time they come. If you're not familiar with them, they're a Canadian group who perform Irish folk music. It's tough to explain, but so much fun to listen to!!

They're likely to tell stories as well as sing, and they encourage the crowd to sing along. Because they're still more of a cult favorite, they're most likely to perform in small venues where the view is pretty great no matter where you sit.

Check the band out HERE or here's one of my favorite songs - Consequence Free

The rest of the weekend was spent with friends up in Ft. Collins, where we went to Waltz night (they have live music and people go, trade partners, and waltz to their heart's content between 8p-11p), ate Indian food, did a little shopping and generally lazed around.

Great times, lots of laughter and very hard to come back to Denver at the end of it. I'll admit, though, that I'll be ready to spend a laid back weekend in town here soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bragging Rights

Yup, that's right...I've got something to brag just a little bit about!

I went to Steamboat Springs for the first time last weekend with a group of friends. We were up there to celebrate my 30th birthday (it was a belated trip, but there's something kind of fun about telling everyone it's your birthday when it's not actually!) and planned to ski 2-3 days. I have to say, just driving into the town told me that it was going to be a great weekend - that town and surrounding valley is gorgeous!!!

The condo was super cute and was steps away from the ski shuttle, plus the way it worked out, each couple had their own room and I had my own room upstairs! That's not really the way it was intended (there were supposed to be a few more on the trip) but in all honesty, it was nice not to have to share my room.

The skiing was great on both Friday and Saturday. We found a few places that we learned to stay away from - it was both icy and heavy, which made it almost impossible to turn - but once we bounced back to the other side of the mountain, it was bliss! There were some tree runs which even I enjoyed, because they weren't ridiculously tight and the snow was nice and soft. There were some bump runs, although nothing quite as crazy as the bumps you find at WP or Copper. Then, on Saturday, came the part I'm going to brag about - the steeps.

My friends are amazing skiers. No, really A-MAZING. I've learned a ton from them and they push me just hard enough to continue improving. But on Saturday, we skied past the double black chutes so that I could look down them...and I decided in that moment that looking down them was all I needed to do. It was so steep that I couldn't get close enough to see exactly how steep it was!! My heart started racing just at the thought of jumping off one of those headwalls (translate: cliffs).

So...the guys went on down the double black while the three ladies decided to head over to a more reasonable (translate: nearly flat compared to what we'd just looked down) black mogul run in order to get down the mountain.

And then came the lift conversation where I said I'd at least go look at it again. There were instructions given about what to do (watch D's line, lean way forward, and if all else fails, go all the way across the run rather than try to keep a line), then our fearless leader went first to demonstrate. I was still too far away to see it, because I honestly didn't want to get any closer. Then, my friend's wife went...and I've been skiing way longer than she has! As soon as she went over the edge I said,"Well, now I HAVE to do it!" (Note - my competitive side does sometimes get the better of me). She did a beautiful job of her run with only a small tumble right at the very end.

Then, it was my turn. DUN-DUN-DUNNNNN. I dropped over the edge, hit a bad bump, and immediately popped out of both of my skis.


So imagine being at the top of a run that is on a 66.7 degree slope without your skis. Not especially good news! At least the skis didn't escape, and A dropped in to help me get back in. He told me "getting back into skis on a slope this steep is a whole different ballgame". And then he realized that I was literally trembling between the fear and the adrenaline!

(Straight on shot of the chute run)

Fortunately, when you fall right at the top, you have a chance to (A) realize what it's like to fall and it's not completely horrible, (B) understand that if you have to, you can take your skis and slide down on your bottom because it's not THAT steep that you couldn't and (C) realize too that now you're in, you do actually have the skills to ski the rest of the slope!

And what do you know, that's just what I did! I looked a little like a Mexican jumping bean because my jump turns were a little exaggerated (probably from all that adrenaline), but I didn't fall again and even managed to connect a couple of my turns!!

(From more of an angle - see skier partway down)

It was a crazy thing...and also ridiculously exhilarating. I've never skied better than I did on the very next run, because after something that extreme, everything else suddenly seems like cake!

(R, Me, and A with the chute behind us!)

So that is my story...thanks for letting me brag a little bit about overcoming something that was so scary to me! And if you ever need a trip, I HIGHLY recommend Steamboat...I hear it's just as nice in the summer as it is in the winter...and do check out Strawberry Park Hot Springs if you go!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Romp to Stomp 2011

Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer was this last weekend in Frisco, and it was a really great event! Our team, Snowbunnies for Breasts, wound up with a grand total of 17 snowshoers, which is awesome for a first time team. We had novices right up through experienced snowshoers, but since the event was at the Frisco Nordic Center, it was perfect for everyone. The trail was packed down, but if you went off the trail (like one fellow ahead of us) there was a possibility of going in up to your waist! Personally, I would have been tempted to try it...but knowing me, it would have taken me 20 minutes to dig myself out...and I get enough of that with powder skiing :)

A few of us got up early enough to join in the pancake breakfast at 8am...and I will definitely plan to be there early again next year. It was completely worth giving up the extra 1/2 hr of sleep to have breakfast and coffee and wander around to collect loot at all the, the parking was stellar. With 4 in our car, we were able to park right at the center!

To round out the fun of the weekend, there was also the sharing a hotel room between four of us...two of the ladies are sorority sisters from college and one was someone I'd met only once before, but we had a ball! It was the closest thing to a sleepover I've had in years. You know, where you start talking and then everyone starts laughing and can't stop. So fun!

Finally, I can't forget to share how beautiful the Nordic Center is up there. The scenery is amazing! I've skied Breckenridge a couple of times in the past, but when you're skiing you're literally on the side of the mountain and it can make it harder to appreciate the views. From the Nordic Center, and at the slower pace allowed by snowshoes, it was impossible to miss the surrounding mountain ranges and appreciate a Saturday outside of Denver.

All in all, this is an event that I'm looking forward to organizing again next year and hopefully we'll have the same level of interest next March!!

The team

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pretty Girls Rock Dresses Challenge

Here is a challenge that I found on one of the blogs that I regularly follow (Erica B.'s D.I.Y. Style - she's a rock star when it comes to sewing!). I personally don't think that I own enough dresses to pull this off (which is kind of sad, actually), but I love the idea behind it. Casual has become the standard, and I know I feel so much better/more confident/more professional in a dress and heels. While I'm nearly always in a dress for church or special events like the theatre, it sure wouldn't hurt to bring more of that polish into my everyday life.

Anyway, it just got me thinking so I thought I'd share this with any of you who stumble onto this post!

Here are the rules:

Challenge will start
Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

1. We will rock dresses and heels like our mothers & grandmothers at least THREE (3) times a week.
2. We will reject the impulse to throw on jeans, jogging suits (even the cute kind), & dress slacks.
3. Exchange our revelations and thoughts throughout this challenge.
4. Invite a Friend(s), Take Pics, & HAVE FUN.
5. Everyone is WELCOMED to participate.
6. Exceptions: Flattering Dress Suits with nice accessories are allowed.
7. If you have a blog share it with your followers.

Let's bring back:

*GLAMOUR. *GRACE. *CHARM. *FEMININTY. *PRISSYness (is that a word?) and most of all BEAUTY.

Pretty Girls Rock Dresses Spring/Summer 20-11 Challenge.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Traveling...In My Dreams

Have you ever reached a point where you feel like you need a new dream? Or, in my case, it's a re-prioritization of dreams. I'm 30 and single, with only a house to tie me down...and while this isn't at all where I thought I'd be by now, the trip has been interesting and educational and in all honesty, the things I have to complain about are pretty small in the grand scheme of things.

But regardless of that, I need something new to focus on - something that will take my mind away from those things that aren't and put them on the things that might be. And it seems that the thing that fits me best is travel. It's something I've always dreamed of doing at much more regular intervals than I am, and to places much further abroad. The trip to Europe was almost two years ago - I can't believe it's been that long! - and in my opinion, it's time to start planning another trip.

People always ask,"Where would you go next?" and I can always tell them in vague terms: Ireland, London, France, Switzerland, Italy. But beyond that, I can't really expound...what do I want to do there? What region/neighborhood would I most want to stay in? Which cultural activities would I most want to explore? Some answers to these questions are no-brainers: visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, le Musee d'Orsey, the theatre, the ballet, the Coliseum, the Leaning Tower, some of the gardens. Oh yeah...and I'd drink a ridiculous amount of wine and eat fantastic food the whole time. But there's so much I don't know yet.

And that's where this post comes from.

It occurs to me that I can plan a trip and it doesn't have to mean that I'm going in 6 months. I can learn about all the regions in France and decide which ones are of the most interest to me...I have time to realize that I would love to visit Lake Como in Italy and see if the modern impressionistic picture in my living room even begins to capture the real place. And what's funny is that in beginning the exploration, I find myself pulled into learning more and more about the general southern part of Europe as a whole.

This all started out as an exploration of France, because I used to speak enough of the language that I think I could recover a fair amount and go spend a couple weeks practicing in the actual country. I enjoy art and it's always been a dream to visit the Louvre. And of course, France is known for their wine. But what about the Cote d'Azure? Or Provence? Or Bordeaux? Or the French countryside in general?

There's so much to consider! I think the next step is to buy a guidebook - I was looking at the Frommer's France 2011 today, and I think I could read it like a novel. It's got background and history on the country as a whole, then breaks up and explores each of the various regions. It's close to 1,000 pages and while I know some things get outdated, it seems to be the kind of book you could use for multiple trips (should I be so lucky)!

But then, as I'm daydreaming about a trip to France on the phone with my brother (younger bro, natch - who went with Band of America at age 17 to something like 10 countries in 17 days), he reminded me of how much he liked Switzerland...and of course, that's on the list too.

And then I went looking for info on Lake Como, because I dream about visiting the locale in my dang picture all the makes me happy just to look at it, the town dipping right down to the water with the towering mountains in the background. And the more I read about Lake Como, the more I think that's where my focus should be for this imaginary trip. It's The activities are mostly based in being outdoors and active - you can go horseback riding, take sailing lessons, windsurf, water ski, and most interesting to me, hike up into the mountains where you can look down onto the lake and its surrounding towns. Can you imagine that view??? I could hike different routes for a week straight, and spend my off-time shopping and being beach-bound. That, to me, sounds pretty close to heaven!!

So of course, that lead to me wondering how far the lake was to Tuscany (Florence specifically - 4 hours) or to Milan (1.75 hrs) or to Nice, France (5 hrs) - because why not catch some French Riviera in the 2nd week of my trip?

I figure slowly I'll start building a spreadsheet focusing on what my ideal trip would look like, taking into consideration costs and the unfortunate exchange rate. And while it may take me a while to save enough to make it happen, why shouldn't I know exactly what I want to do when the dollars and a (possible) travel buddy become available??

It's funny, it doesn't have to be real yet for me to enjoy the research and the just has to have the possibility of being real to keep me content. And as they say, anything is possible!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Girls Nights Are...

This is just a short post, more fun and random than anything else!

I've had guys question girls nights, not understand them, not understand why we would want to exclude them. That is because girls nights are:

  • Therapy - often, although not always, for guy problems
  • Venting sessions - these differ from Therapy because no one wants a solution, it's a moment where she just wants to be heard
  • A Safe Haven - I'll admit, you can have this w/your guy friends. But it's different. There's something great about getting together with your closest girl friends and just being yourself, warts and all
  • Sanity Saving - like when you walk in the door and the first words out are, "can I get you a glass of wine?"
  • Brainstorming Sessions - about anything and everything that needs to be addressed!

Short blog post, definitely. But I've got a girls night tonight that I'm pretty excited about, so I thought I's just share all the reasons why!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Support and Acceptance

Ok, I realize that the title here is maybe a little misleading. But...I'll explain where it comes from. First, let me build the background by saying that I'm jumping head first into a new business venture - I've started working with Arbonne, and so far I love it. There's so much to learn and there are tons of trainings, but I'm incredibly grateful that I haven't been dumped into a business and left to figure it all out on my own.

Part of my reason for moving in this direction is because I am at a point in my world where I really needed to try something completely new, to expand my boundaries, and to build some new skills that in some ways, scare me to death. I think it's healthy to push yourself from time to time in ways that maybe aren't the most comfortable but have the potential for great payoff. In this case, while of course I hope my business stays financially viable, the best payoff for me is the opportunity to meet new people through the presentations and get to talk to them about their lives.

Already, I've been fortunate to find that I really click with my sponsor - I think we have similar outlooks on the world, and it's always a gift to meet someone like that. Plus, working with one of my longtime friends is a major added bonus - we're learning together, and I trust her implicitly so it makes attempting to overcome some of the personal challenges a little less daunting.

In this process, I have been pleasantly surprised at how supportive those closest to me have been. Now, let me say that it's NOT the case that my doubt was based on previous experience...everyone's always wonderful, so why would I expect anything else? But as with any new thing, it's a learn-through-experience kind of deal. And I've been blown away by the people who have come to my launch parties, purchased items (and I've gotta say, the products do pretty much rock :)), or even just sent simple notes of encouragement and well wishes. It's been eye-opening to see how strong my network really is, and how blessed I am! to get to the explanation for the title. I have a friend's wife who is also starting out in direct sales with a different company. If her launch had been on a weekend, it's likely that I would have gone down just to support her...but it was a weekday and in the morning, so I couldn't make it. I sent a note expressing my excitement for both of us, suggesting we compare notes sometime, wishing her luck, and letting her know if she had a catalogue to let me know and I'd take a look at her products.

I have learned in the week leading up to getting her invitation how important and welcome that simple offer can be.

I got a note back saying that we should compare notes, and telling me in a fair amount of detail why she thinks her company is better than mine. At the end of the note, she deigned to offer to look at what my company might have that her company didn't.


Clearly, I'm a little irritated by the return message. I completely understand that some things don't come across well in an email...but was it really necessary to tell me why she thinks her company is better and to offer so little positive in response? I've got to admit, I'm incredibly hesitant now to even look at what she's selling - I'm sure the products are fine, but I don't need to be torn down in order to build someone else up.

In my world, it seems to me that the amazing support that people can offer also has to know how to be accepted on the other side. Sometimes that's not an easy thing - I'm terribly independent and get that - but at the very least, acknowledge the offer with grace.

So I guess to sum it up...all I'm saying is that to me, when people volunteer their time or their money or even something like a thought that they turn into a note in order to build me up, it's like my personal small miracle in that moment and means the world. And really, it's a shame for those people who have trouble purely accepting that offer...because they're missing out on an incredibly powerful experience.